I COULDN’T spot any blue plaque on the walls of the Wolds Inn in Huggate when I visited last Tuesday evening but I do think it’s about time it got one.

Not only has this pub been at the heart of this little village – the highest in the Yorkshire Wolds – since the 16th century, it was also, apparently, the venue for a rite of passage for Britain’s most celebrated living artist – the genius behind some of the most beautiful, vibrant paintings of the Yorkshire Wolds you’re ever likely to see: David Hockney.

He worked on a farm at Huggate for a couple of summers when he was a teenager in the early 1950s and apparently went to the pub, imbibed too much and experienced getting drunk for the very first time. He returned to the area in the 2000s to create masterpieces such as Bigger Trees Near Warter, which measures 15 feet by 40 feet, was painted on 50 individual canvases, and is now on display at the Tate.

The village was starless and bible-black, like Dylan Thomas’s Under Milk Wood, when we arrived on a dripping wet night after a 35-minute drive from York along the A166 through the East Yorkshire countryside, past Stamford Bridge and up Garrowby Hill, and then down a winding, puddly country lane.

Huggate appeared to have no street lighting, so we certainly couldn’t miss the pub,which was a beacon of colour and light. I reflected on all the other villages like Huggate which have had the heart and light ripped out of their community because their pubs have closed down.

Inside, the 50-seater restaurant and bar was cosy, with a coal fire burning in a stove. There was a large works party enjoying a meal to mark someone’s departure, another couple of diners and us but I gather the restaurant is packed on a Sunday.

We were met with a smile and a greeting before being offered a choice of tables, and this set the friendly tone for the evening.

There was no chance of my getting drunk Hockney-style on this evening, with a long drive back to York along dark, wet country roads always at the back of my mind, and so I settled for just one nice glass of Timothy Taylor while my wife ordered one of those ubiquitous Proseccos.

Scanning the menu, my interest was immediately piqued by one of the mains called The Wolds Topper, for £25. It was the most gargantuan meal I had ever come across, certainly on this side of the pond. It was a grill, featuring, now take a deep breath and roll a drum: sirloin steak, gammon, pork chop and lamb chop... and sausage, black pudding and fried egg... and onion rings, mushrooms and tomato. And accompanied by vegetables and either double cooked chips, homemade mashed potato or new potatoes.

Now I reckoned the only way I could ever hope to tackle this on my own would be by arriving with a monstrous appetite, perhaps after a long morning’s walk, and then going for another mega hike afterwards to work it off. You could actually do this in the middle of a summer’s day, as Huggate is on the route of the Wolds Way, but it certainly wasn’t an option on a miserable November evening.

So I opted for a starter of pan fried garlic mushrooms, with a warm roll, for £5.80 while my other half asked for soup of the day, which was mushroom, and cost £5.25.

I think I got the better deal. The sauce was delicious and creamy. To be honest, if they’d added a few chips and vegetables I’d have happily settled for this as my main meal. The soup, full of tiny bits of mushroom, tasted rather bland by comparison.

For mains, I went for the pub’s ‘famous homemade steak pie,’ for £13.95 . My wife opted for ‘local sausage & mash’ for £10.25. Both dishes were served with crispy chips, and red cabbage, carrots and parsnips.

The pie was a wholesome rectangular slice, with brown, flaky, shortcrust pastry, and filled with good chunks of tender meat with lots of gravy.

The sausages were imaginatively topped with fried shredded roots, and my wife said they were some of the best she had eaten for a long time.

I felt really full by now and didn’t fancy any pudding, but an eating out reviewer’s gotta do what an eating out reviewer’s gotta do, so I prevaricated before asking for chocolate sponge in chocolate custard for £4.80. It was moist and very sweet and very... chocolatey, and a fair way to end the meal.

It had been a good evening, with decent, hearty food. Publicans, John, Jane and Dan Leaver, who have been in charge of the Wolds Inn for the past 25 years, should be congratulated for keeping the heart at the centre of this remote country community beating steadily.